COMMITMENT, competence, and compassion—but of these three, the most important is compassion.

Although enrollment usually falls in the second semester, the drastic enrollment policies imposed suddenly this semester—banning promissory notes and late enrollments—might have compounded the rather steep drop this year. Perhaps some might have wondered why the recent enrollment was faster compared to the previous ones until they saw the Varsitarian’s banner headline last issue: “UST Bans Promissory Notes.”

Thanks to Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of UST, the new enrollment policies have been lifted, giving a chance for some students to get back to school. He has announced that late enrollees will again be accepted, while promissory notes will again be allowed on a “case-to-case basis.”

Some students have able been to get back after missing the classes for a week, but sadly, some have failed to meet the financial requirements.

The University administration should communicate with students why it stopped issuing promissory notes. The administration obviously has reasons for the drastic move and these should be explained. Affected students deserve an explanation, especially since they have been paying religiously their balance as promised.

The administration should likewise explain what “case-to-case basis” means. If this will not be explained, others may get false hopes that they could enroll.

As for the policy imposing a six percent interest on unpaid tuition upon enrollment—which has been deferred until the next academic year—the Central Student Council, at least, explained that the interest would fund the “administrative charges” for unpaid accounts.

How big really are the administrative costs of the unpaid accounts? Will they lead to UST, the oldest university in Asia, closing down because of financial difficulties?

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But if UST is really experiencing financial difficulties, it is suicidal for it to clamp down on late enrollees who, after all, pay their matriculation, albeit delayed, to sustain the opeations of the school and improve the finances of the University. Moreover, banning promissory notes – which are a form of credit line — is bad business. Even businesses extend credit lines to their regular clients.

Extending financial relief to students is not only practical business; it’s also practical Christianity. The University should exercisepaternal solicitude and pastoral care over its students becauseeducation is a social service and UST is a Catholic institution.

One thing that makes UST unique among top universities is that people from different social strata harmoniously interact with each other here.

One can hardly feel elitism in UST, unless, of course, enrollees will be screened based on their financial capabilities—like what the new enrollment policies may have done.

A key Thomasian identity that the University promotes is that Thomasians “can reach out to others with Christian compassion in their service to the poor and the marginalized members of society.” The

UST administration should embody that identity.

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